On Learning Hungarian…

I must be crazy. I have made tentative tries to learn Hungarian and I always stop. Perhaps, as I get older, learning a new language is a good idea as it utilizes the part of the brain often attacked by dementia and Alzheimer’s.

As I said, I have started before. The biggest issue I have always had is where to learn it. I think I should go to Hungary, lol. It is spoken by approximately only thirteen million people (with contingents in the United States, Canada, and Israel). About ten million of the thirteen is in Hungary itself, a country that laments the loss of some seventy-one percent of its land in the 1920 Treaty of Trianon after WWI. This loss included the loss of approximately thirty-three percent of its ethnic, Hungarian population. In Hungary, Romania, Slovakia, Serbia, Austria, and Slovenia, the Hungarian language still holds official status.

The language is no longer consider a member of the Finno-Ugric group but rather a Uralic language of the Ugric branch along with the Mansi and Khanty languages of western Siberia.
Mary Kay’s comment to the change from Finno-Ugric to the Uralic language of the Ugric branch is, « Potato, potato. »

I pulled out my digital Pimsleur recordings and started redoing the lessons the other day. This time, I decided to try to be more consistent and I also decided that I was going to transcribe the words and expressions I was learning. My hope is that they will thus be better ingrained in my gray matter. I am writing them out in cursive first. I am concerned that my once beautiful cursive has been destroyed from lack of use. I really have to concentrate when I write cursive to slow down my movement and make it as legible as it once was. I think that is good for my soon to be geriatric motor skills. Thank you, Google Translate, by the way, which helps me figure out how to transcribe the Hungarian, put in all the correct accents, etc. Go try and find a good beginning book or dictionary. I am still relegated to an English-Hungarian dictionary I bought in Budapest in 1971.

The Hungarian alphabet has forty-four letters, need I say more? The good news is that once you learn the sound system, something I am relying on my old memories of hearing it spoken by family members, the language is pretty much completely phonetic.

More to follow…

About Richard Koerner

Sixty something, father, papi, educator, organizer, Francophile, traveler, amateur photographer, gardener, cyclist, kayaker, calligrapher, cinephile, reader, and overall renaissance type human being.
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